Daring to Lead – Five Minutes with Ansa Leighton, Incubeta ZA Head of Consultancy

In the second instalment of our ‘Daring to Lead’ series – where we’re catching up with some of Incubeta’s female leadership team to hear their expectations for 2021 and to celebrate International Women’s Day – we spoke to Ansa Leighton, Incubeta’s ZA Head of Consultancy.

Matilda Rose Moir

Joining the Incubeta family over 6 years ago, Ansa discusses her expectations for 2021, and how she will be ‘Choosing to Challenge’ this International Women’s Day to strive for gender equality.

1. If you could describe yourself in three words, for the benefit of those that aren’t familiar with you, what would you say and why?

What a lovely opportunity to do some self reflection!  I would have to say Determined, Genuine and Resilient.

It is during difficult times that your most valuable qualities showcase who you truly are. My ambition and optimism 10 years back landed me the opportunity to start a new life in a different country, where I was forced to pivot my career after 14 years in H/O retail.  It was not without its challenges, and this ‘courageous act’ of moving out of my comfort zone and changing career paths meant climbing the corporate ladder from the ground up.  If it wasn’t for my determination and tenacity, I would not be where I am today.  I believe being genuine and inclusive along the journey has earned me a reputation of being a trustworthy leader.

2. As the Incubeta ZA Head of Consultancy, what are you most excited about in 2021 – both from a personal sense and work sense?

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 undoubtedly demanded us to be resilient and adaptable.  A year on, and we’re finally getting the hang of it – focusing our efforts and newly gained survival skills in a more constructive way.

I am excited about the fact that 2020 proved a workforce can be productive regardless of their location, which sets the tone for a more modern and flexible workplace.  This cultural shift will empower many families to reach a better balance between work and family life – a situation where women have the most to gain.  It is my belief that organisations need to be progressive and enable and encourage continuous flexibility for primary caregivers.  This will assist employees to deliver on all responsibilities, (both professional & personal).  Remote working arrangements, following the lockdown restrictions, have demonstrated that it’s possible to deliver on both.

On another note, Incubeta has new leadership, which comes with a newly defined focus that leaves the business invigorated.  With an aggressive shift in the agency world towards consulting services, and business consultancies looking at acquiring skills that traditionally sit within digital agencies, Incubeta is capitalising on the opportunity to close the gap and showcase true value as growth partners to our clients.

We look forward to seeing what opportunities will stem from this, and how as a global team we will drive change in the industry, business and for our clients.

3. Where is there opportunity for growth at Incubeta? 

At Incubeta we pride ourselves as educators and thought leaders, currently working with educational institutions and academies to help build and deliver on curriculums to upskill and develop people in the industry.  For this reason, there is always an opportunity to grow at Incubeta.

However, if I was to throw the spotlight on a discipline close to my heart, I believe it to be Consultative services that will deliver growth and empowerment to our clients.  With the rise of Big Data,  data analysts and those building systems to automate will be in high demand.   As businesses are setting out on their journey to digital transformation, there is a huge opportunity to expand our service offering beyond just tech but include more strategic organisational support to grow during this period of change.

4. What’s in store for Incubeta in 2021, and how will you contribute to that?

I believe we have had a very good start to the year, 2021.

Digital Consultancy at Incubeta is growing beyond just tech-solutions, with emphasis on advanced analytics, measurement and data-driven activation. As a leader it will be important for me to support and facilitate the broadening of skill sets within the teams, encouraging growth beyond just one specialism, with a strong focus on critical skills underpinning personal development.  Looking at the young talent within the business, it is up to us as leaders to provide equal opportunity to all genders, and stimulate confidence and trust with our employees. Based on the aggressive growth aspirations for the Consultancy Division, it is essential that we have the necessary skills and expertise to service our clients when the new business opportunities present themselves. A proactive approach is critical in achieving our objectives, having the right resources with the right skill sets

We were recently awarded a global partnership with Google Digital Academy as facilitators of their Mini Labs series.  This opportunity allows us to make an active contribution towards educating clients, and advance knowledge in the industry by hosting workshops to tackle business challenges head-on.

This will be a huge focus area for us in 2021; Our consultative services are in the process of advancing from providing answers and solutions, to incorporating stakeholders’ knowledge and expertise. The result will be the creation of  a centre of excellence that will drive changes in their organisation beyond our engagement.

We have a remarkable culture of learning and sharing at Incubeta, however with the maturing of a global business, there is a need to offer opportunities beyond acquiring hard skill sets and establishing a culture of nurturing global talent as one team effort.

For this reason, I am striving to deliver and support developing strong leadership and management competencies within the business.  With this objective, we will drive maturity in our value-system and inevitably provide growth opportunities for young leaders of the future.

5. The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is ‘Choose to Challenge’ and as a female leader how will you celebrate women’s achievements, and strive for gender equality within the business? 

The reason so many women hold back is due to a lack of confidence and low self-esteem. As a leader, it starts with the acknowledgement and celebration of incremental success.  I strive to provide equal opportunity to those looking at me for growth, regardless of gender, race or orientation.  I encourage thought leadership and inclusiveness by listening, facilitating and nurturing individual contributions to decision making.

Choosing to challenge for the sake of challenge is not what is encouraged, but rather for the challenge to be done in a constructive and thought provoking way.  This can lead to amazing personal and professional growth.

As an organisation we should not only have a written policy around diversity and inclusion, but have active programmes to promote equal opportunity in society.  As a member of the D&I committee for Incubeta, we are working on launching programmes that will prove the seriousness of our commitment to this course.  I see this opportunity as a real honour and I look forward to driving changes in as many areas as I can.

Click here to explore the full series International Women’s Day: Daring To Lead

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